Sustainable business in the experience economy: an examination of marketplace, consumers, and community in the context of Americana music festivals

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Thomas F. Turner (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Nancy Nelson Hodges

Abstract: With music fans attending festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella in record numbers, festival revenues have grown from very little a decade ago to over $4.6 billion in 2011 (Grose, 2011). Americana music festivals are one such type of music festival currently enjoying increased popularity. The purpose of this dissertation is to understand consumption-related behaviors and experiences within the Americana music festival context. Thus, one of the primary goals of this dissertation is to understand the experience of the Americana music festival and to explore what this experience means for festivalgoers, fans, and the genre itself. Four research objectives were developed to address this purpose: (1) to explore the Americana music festival experience, (2) to investigate the role of consumption in this experience, (3) to examine how the Americana music festival functions as a marketplace, and (4) to investigate the ways that Americana music festivals link to the local community. Americana music festivals are settings that allow the emotive, affective properties of the consumption process to emerge through moments of fun, enjoyment and leisure. However, thus far, no academic research has investigated the Americana music festival as a particular experiential consumption context. Likewise, although research exists on festivals in general, there are gaps in this literature specifically related to festival consumption behaviors. An ethnographic approach was used to address the purpose and objectives of this study. Specifically, I immersed myself in the research by attending ten Americana music festivals conducting research in the field for a total of 33 days over the duration the festivals attended. Data collected consisted of interviews, fieldnotes and photographs. Data were analyzed to develop the thematic interpretations. Three thematic areas emerged that structure the interpretation: Crafting the Festival, The Marketplace, and Experiencing the Festival. Within each thematic area, dimensions of the meanings of the Americana music festival experience are examined. Findings indicate that the Americana music festival is a transformative commercial offering that is created by organizers for consumers to escape and explore new experiences. Findings also shed light on how the Americana music festival inspires consumption that shapes individual and group identities. Lastly, findings elucidate the importance of stakeholder support necessary for Americana music festivals to be successful. Although, this study addresses several gaps in the literature, it also points to the need for further exploration of the experiential consumption facets of festivals in general and Americana music festivals in particular.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Alternative Marketplaces, Americana Music Festivals, Experience Economy, Experiential Consumption, Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Business
Alternative country music $x Economic aspects $z United States
Alternative country music $x Social aspects $z United States
Music festivals $x Economic aspects $z United States
Music festivals $x Social aspects $z United States
Experience $x Economic aspects $z United States
Consumption (Economics) $x Social aspects $z United States
Consumer behavior $z United States

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